The High Cost of Chronic Diseases Worldwide
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The High Cost of Chronic Diseases Worldwide



The following content is sponsored by NuGen Medical Devices.

Cost of Chronic Diseases

The High Cost of Chronic Diseases Worldwide

Are humans healthier than we ever were in the course of history?

While the state of healthcare systems has drastically improved and we’re living longer lives, there are some diseases that are proving difficult to beat completely—specifically, they are called chronic diseases.

This infographic from NuGen Medical Devices highlights the true cost of chronic diseases, and the pressing challenges we face in treating them.

The Impacts of Chronic Diseases on Healthcare

Chronic diseases refer to conditions that last at least a year, and up to a lifetime. They typically require ongoing medical attention, affect quality of life, or both.

According to the World Health Organization, chronic diseases make up 73% of all global deaths, and an additional 60% of the global burden of disease. This latter measure is an indicator of the impact of living with illnesses and premature deaths.

Here are some contributing risk factors for contracting a chronic disease:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol use

Chronic diseases affect more people than we realize. In the U.S. alone, 6 in 10 adults have at least one chronic disease. They can also compound significantly: it’s estimated that 4 in 10 adults suffer from at least two or more.

So what are the major types of chronic diseases, and their implications?

Highlighting the High Costs of Chronic Diseases

Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are some leading causes of death and disability among chronic diseases annually. In addition, the lifelong implications of chronic diseases mean that there’s not only a steep human cost, but a significant economic one too.

Disease typeHow many Americans affected Annual economic toll
Heart disease/stroke868,662 annual deaths$363B total cost to U.S. health system
• $216B in direct cost
• $147B in lost productivity
Cancer600,000 annual deaths
1.7 million diagnosed annually
$174B cost of cancer care
Diabetes>34.2 million live with diabetes today$327B total cost of diagnosed diabetes
• $237B in direct costs
• $90B in lost productivity

Sources: CDC, AHA

It’s not a surprise then that these three chronic diseases also account for some of the most prescribed drugs in America to try and combat or mitigate their effects on everyday lives.

Due to its high prevalence, diabetes is a significant example of a chronic disease worth exploring further.

Digging Deeper into Diabetes

Did you know that 1 in 5 U.S. adults don’t know they have diabetes? Here is a breakdown of the two major types of diabetes, including their different causes, symptoms, and proportion in the population.

Type 1Type 2
Caused by an autoimmune reaction which stops the body from making insulinCells don’t respond to insulin, so the body can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels
Symptoms develop quicklySymptoms develop over many years
Usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adultsUsually diagnosed in adults
5-10% of diabetics are Type 190-95% of diabetics are Type 2

About 88 million U.S. adults are prediabetic, namely, at risk for type 2 diabetes. Potential additional complications from diabetes include heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness.

The Top 10 Countries With Highest Diabetic Population (2019-2045P)

Zooming out, the global population living with diabetes has tripled since the turn of the century, from 151 million in 2000 to 463 million in 2019. It’s also estimated that 700 million people may have to live with diabetes by the year 2045.

Which countries are at highest risk of having the most diabetic adults (aged 20-79 years old) now and in the future?

RankCountryMillions, 2019CountryMillions, 2045P
#1🇨🇳 China116.4🇨🇳 China147.2
#2🇮🇳 India77🇮🇳 India134.2
#3🇺🇸 U.S.31🇵🇰 Pakistan37.1
#4🇵🇰 Pakistan19.4🇺🇸 U.S.36
#5🇧🇷 Brazil16.8🇧🇷 Brazil26
#6🇲🇽 Mexico12.8🇲🇽 Mexico22.3
#7🇮🇩 Indonesia10.7🇪🇬 Egypt16.9
#8🇩🇪 Germany9.5🇮🇩 Indonesia16.6
#9🇪🇬 Egypt8.9🇧🇩 Bangladesh15.1
#10🇧🇩 Bangladesh8.4🇹🇷 Turkey10.4

A significant share of diabetic adults worldwide will be found across Asia. Notably, China and India are demographically at the highest risk.

The Challenges of Chronic Disease Treatment

Since there aren’t really any “cures” for chronic diseases, medication is a common form of treatment. For example, many diabetics typically rely on insulin administered via injections at home.

However, this can run into issues of a lack of adherence. In fact, up to 50% of patients with chronic diseases can fail to take their prescribed medications. What’s behind this trend?

  • High costs
    The more chronic diseases a person has, their out-of-pocket expenses increase as well.
    For example, for someone with 3+ chronic diseases, their typical costs can shoot up to 10.1x the baseline, namely those not living with any chronic diseases.
  • Passive patients
    In a survey of health professionals, 85% think that the latest technology—such as biometric measurement devices—empower patients to take charge of their own health.
    This means that patients who aren’t using such devices may not feel the urgency to take their medications.
  • Fear of needles
    A significant share of the adult population is afraid of needles, ranging from 9-30%.

With a significant share of the population managing chronic diseases at any given time, there’s a vast investment opportunity around the world.

That’s where NuGen Medical Devices comes in. The company has developed a wide range of safe, cost-effective, and needle-free devices for self-administering medication.

This has the potential to disrupt massive industries, such as the global chronic disease management market. In 2019 alone, this market was worth $326 billion. At a compound annual growth rate of 7.2%, it could reach $490 billion by 2023.

NuGen Medical Devices taps into an urgent and global need for needle-free devices—with the vision to empower patients and practitioners alike.

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The History of U.S. Energy Independence

This infographic traces the history of U.S. energy independence, showing the events that have shaped oil demand and imports over 150 years.



history of U.S. energy independence

The History of U.S. Energy Independence

Energy independence has long been a part of America’s political history and foreign policy, especially since the 1970s.

Despite long being a leader in energy production, the U.S. has often still relied on oil imports to meet its growing needs. This “energy dependence” left the country and American consumers vulnerable to supply disruptions and oil price shocks.

The above infographic from Surge Battery Metals traces the history of U.S. energy independence, highlighting key events that shaped the country’s import reliance for oil. This is part one of three infographics in the Energy Independence Series.

How the U.S. Became Energy Dependent

Oil was first commercially drilled in the U.S. in 1859, when Colonel Edwin Drake developed an oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Twenty years later in 1880, the U.S. was responsible for 85% of global crude oil production and refining. But over the next century, the country became increasingly dependent on oil imports.

Here are some key events that affected America’s oil dependence and foreign policy during that time according to the Council on Foreign Relations:

  • 1908: Henry Ford invented the Model T, the world’s first mass-produced and affordable car.
  • 1914-1918: The U.S. began importing small quantities of oil from Mexico to meet the demands of World War I and domestic consumption.
  • 1942: In efforts to save gas and fuel for World War II, the Office of Defense Transportation implemented a national plan limiting driving speeds to 35 miles per hour.
  • 1943: President Roosevelt provided financial support to Saudi Arabia and declared Saudi oil critical to U.S. security.
  • 1950: With 40 million cars on the road, the U.S. became a net importer of oil bringing in around 500,000 barrels per day.
  • 1970: Twentieth century U.S. oil production peaked and President Nixon eased oil import quotas, allowing an additional 100,000 barrels per day in imports.

The U.S. economy’s increasing reliance on oil imports made it vulnerable to supply disruptions. For example, in 1973, in response to the U.S.’ support for Israel, Arab members of the OPEC imposed an embargo on oil exports to Western nations, creating the first “oil shock”. Oil prices nearly quadrupled, and American consumers felt the shock through long lineups at gas stations along with high inflation. Combined with rising unemployment rates and flattening wages, the increase in prices led to a period of stagflation.

Despite the energy crisis, U.S. oil production fell for decades, while the country met its increasing energy needs with oil from abroad.

The Rise and Fall of U.S. Oil Imports

Here’s how U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum products has evolved since 1950 in comparison with consumption and production. All figures are in millions of barrels per day (bpd).

YearConsumption (bpd)Production (bpd)Net imports (bpd)

Net oil imports quadrupled between 1960 and 1980, marking the two biggest decadal jumps. Given that production was falling while consumption was booming, it’s clear why the U.S. needed to rely on imports.

Imports peaked in 2005, with net imports accounting for a record 60% of domestic consumption. Both imports and consumption fell in the years that followed. In 2009, for the first time since 1970, U.S. oil production increased thanks to the shale boom. It ascended until 2019 to make the U.S. the world’s largest oil producer.

As of 2021, the U.S. was a net exporter of refined petroleum products and hydrocarbon liquids but remained a net importer of crude oil.

The New Era of Energy

Oil and fossil fuels have long played a central role in the global energy mix. The U.S.’ reliance on other countries for oil made it energy-dependent, exposing American gas consumers to geopolitical shocks and volatile oil prices.

Today, the global energy shift away from fossil fuels towards cleaner sources of generation offers a new opportunity to use lessons from the past. By securing the raw materials needed to enable the energy transition, the U.S. can build a clean energy future independent of foreign sources.

In the next part of the Energy Independence Series sponsored by Surge Battery Metals, we will explore the New Era of Energy and the role of electric vehicles and renewables in the ongoing energy transition.

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Ranked: Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Roughly 25% of all GHG emissions come from electricity production. See how the top 30 IOUs rank by emissions per capita.



Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Approximately 25% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from electricity generation.

Subsequently, this means investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will have a crucial role to play around carbon reduction initiatives. This is particularly true for the top 30 IOUs, where almost 75% of utility customers get their electricity from.

This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council ranks the largest IOUs by emissions per capita. By accounting for the varying customer bases they serve, we get a more accurate look at their green energy practices. Here’s how they line up.

Per Capita Rankings

The emissions per capita rankings for the top 30 investor-owned utilities have large disparities from one another.

Totals range from a high of 25.8 tons of CO2 per customer annually to a low of 0.5 tons.

UtilityEmissions Per Capita (CO2 tons per year)Total Emissions (M)
OGE Energy21.518.2
AES Corporation19.849.9
Southern Company18.077.8
Alliant Energy14.414.1
DTE Energy14.229.0
Berkshire Hathaway Energy14.057.2
WEC Energy13.522.2
Duke Energy12.096.6
Xcel Energy11.943.3
Dominion Energy11.037.8
PNM Resources10.55.6
PPL Corporation10.428.7
American Electric Power9.250.9
Consumers Energy8.716.1
NRG Energy8.229.8
Florida Power and Light8.041.0
Portland General Electric7.66.9
Fortis Inc.6.112.6
Consolidated Edison1.66.3
Pacific Gas and Electric0.52.6
Next Era Energy Resources01.1

PNM Resources data is from 2019, all other data is as of 2020

Let’s start by looking at the higher scoring IOUs.


TransAlta emits 25.8 tons of CO2 emissions per customer, the largest of any utility on a per capita basis. Altogether, the company’s 630,000 customers emit 16.3 million metric tons. On a recent earnings call, its management discussed clear intent to phase out coal and grow their renewables mix by doubling their renewables fleet. And so far it appears they’ve been making good on their promise, having shut down the Canadian Highvale coal mine recently.


Vistra had the highest total emissions at 97 million tons of CO2 per year and is almost exclusively a coal and gas generator. However, the company announced plans for 60% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 and is striving to be carbon neutral by 2050. As the highest total emitter, this transition would make a noticeable impact on total utility emissions if successful.

Currently, based on their 4.3 million customers, Vistra sees per capita emissions of 22.4 tons a year. The utility is a key electricity provider for Texas, ad here’s how their electricity mix compares to that of the state as a whole:

Energy SourceVistraState of Texas

Despite their ambitious green energy pledges, for now only 1% of Vistra’s electricity comes from renewables compared to 24% for Texas, where wind energy is prospering.

Based on those scores, the average customer from some of the highest emitting utility groups emit about the same as a customer from each of the bottom seven, who clearly have greener energy practices. Let’s take a closer look at emissions for some of the bottom scoring entities.

Utilities With The Greenest Energy Practices

Groups with the lowest carbon emission scores are in many ways leaders on the path towards a greener future.


Exelon emits only 3.8 tons of CO2 emissions per capita annually and is one of the top clean power generators across the Americas. In the last decade they’ve reduced their GHG emissions by 18 million metric tons, and have recently teamed up with the state of Illinois through the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Through this, Exelon will receive $700 million in subsidies as it phases out coal and gas plants to meet 2030 and 2045 targets.

Consolidated Edison

Consolidated Edison serves nearly 4 million customers with a large chunk coming from New York state. Altogether, they emit 1.6 tons of CO2 emissions per capita from their electricity generation.

The utility group is making notable strides towards a sustainable future by expanding its renewable projects and testing higher capacity limits. In addition, they are often praised for their financial management and carry the title of dividend aristocrat, having increased their dividend for 47 years and counting. In fact, this is the longest out of any utility company in the S&P 500.

A Sustainable Tomorrow

Altogether, utilities will have a pivotal role to play in decarbonization efforts. This is particularly true for the top 30 U.S. IOUs, who serve millions of Americans.

Ultimately, this means a unique moment for utilities is emerging. As the transition toward cleaner energy continues and various groups push to achieve their goals, all eyes will be on utilities to deliver.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.

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